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-Federal Judge Rules ‘National Day of Prayer’ Unconstitutional

by Dr. D ~ April 16th, 2010

Painting by Howard Chandler Christy (1873-1952...
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MADISON, Wis. -Yesterday, U.S. District Judge Barbara Crabb ruled that the ‘National Day of Prayer’ was unconstitutional saying the day amounted to an ‘official’ call for religious action:

“It goes beyond mere ‘acknowledgment’ of religion because its sole purpose is to encourage all citizens to engage in prayer, an inherently religious exercise that serves no secular function in this context. In this instance, the government has taken sides on a matter that must be left to individual conscience.

In fact, it is because the nature of prayer is so personal and can have such a powerful effect on a community that the government may not use its authority to try to influence an individual’s decision whether and when to pray.”

The suit was brought by the Freedom From Religion Foundation which argued that the day violated the ‘separation of church and state’. This is just the first stop for this case as it is bound to make its way through the whole federal court system and eventually could be considered by the Supreme Court.

The Obama administration counters that the National Day of Prayer simply acknowledges the role of religion in the United States and really doesn’t officially force anyone into any kind of religious activities. National prayers have been a tradition from the very beginning of the country. Many Presidents have called for the nation to unite in prayer over the years.

The current National Day of Prayer was established by Congressional statute in 1952 and the first Thursday in May was set as the official day in 1988.

Response: Actually the government is not really that much involved in the National Day of Prayer except for the usual proclamation by the President and any sponsored White House activities. President Obama didn’t host anything last year.

Usually all of the organization and official events are planned by volunteers. America is still a country that substantially believes in God and values prayer. It is only natural to pray for ones country and leaders. In fact the Bible gives counsel to that affect.

If the National Day of Prayer ends up being ‘unconstitutional’ then the country will be changed for all time. Also, the understanding of what the Constitution is all about in the first place will have been fundamentally altered.

The Constitution itself was written in response to prayer. Prayers began every meeting of the Constitutional Convention that formulated the document in the first place. On a number of occasions when there was an impasse in the proceedings the Convention took a time out to seek guidance from God through prayer. In fact the supposedly ‘agnostic’ Benjamin Franklin suggested prayer on at least one occasion. Now it is ‘unconstitutional’? I don’t think so.            *Top

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